Becoming a Mother is Not What I Expected

Becoming a mother has been tough, and to be honest, there have been times where I thought I don’t want this. My emotions and ideas about being a mum are all over the place. I’m in denial and I can’t let go of my former self.

I don’t know which way is up and sometimes I feel normal again and other times I feel like there has been a zombie apocalypse and my son and I are the only ones left, barely standing. One leg hanging and milk leaking from my tits.

Transitioning into motherhood has been surreal. I am “me” but I am not “me” both physically and mentally.

Physically, my body is not my body anymore. I will never really have my body again. It will always be a body that once had another life inside of it. Another heart beating inside of it. Another brain with electricity pulsing through it. Another set of lungs hiccuping in it. Another body squirming around, making me smile in hope and fear. So while flesh wounds are healing, the wound on my pschye is still very raw.

Everything is grey. I should be listening to my instincts but for some reason it’s hard to trust them. My brain is in mini battles throughout the day. Google is torture. But I need to let go and listen to my heart.

I realise I have entered a new world internally. I did not expect this. I am caught in disbelief and shock and fear of the fragile life I carry in my arms every morning. The life I created. I still can’t really grasp this thought. While I can obviously see the extra fat on my body, the “linea negra” going down my belly and my much bigger breasts, I am in denial and still believe that I can be the person who I used to be. The person that put so much thought on weekend plans. The person that prioritised going to a party with friends over spending time at home. The person that thought life would never happen unless a plan was made for it to happen. Well, life happens. Crying. Laughing. Wondering. Yelling. Absorbing. All at once.

But in life, well, in my new life, I’ve found there are a thousand different paths I can take. And it starts from birth.

Give the baby a Vitamin K shot. Give the baby Vitamin K orally.
Wait to cut the cord. Rushed delivery, don’t wait to cut the cord.
Skin to skin after delivery. Wrap the baby up.
Circumsise. Don’t cicumsise.
Hepitisis B Vaccine. Don’t give him a Hepatitis B Vaccine.
When to bathe the baby. 1 week. 3 days. 1 day. 2 weeks.
Eco-friendly diapers. Cloth diapers. The cheap diapers.
Sleep the baby on his back. Sleep the baby on his stomach. Sleep the baby on his side.
Don’t use a dummy. Use a dummy.
Breastfeed. Formula feed.
Crying it out method. Soothe baby to sleep.
Putting him on a parent led routine. Baby led routine. Parent and baby led routine.
Co-sleeping. Put baby in cot right away.
Going back to work at 6 months. Going back to work now.
Start weaning at 4 months or 6 months.

And of course, it doesn’t stop there. But it’s all good. IT IS WHAT IT IS.

While I was pregnant I kept telling everyone that I was so excited to have the baby so I could be “myself” again. But that reality does not exist. I have to let that person go because my mentality has changed.

My inner thoughts are now “has the baby eaten enough” “how many hours has he slept” “what’s that red spot on his face?” What we’re my inner thoughts before I was pregnant? “Did I drink enough water today?” “I wonder who’s going to be at the party tonight?” “I need to lose 5 pounds before summer.” My inner dialogue now is the entrance to Alice’s wonderland. Never ending. Crazy. But fun. Unexpectedly awesome.

And since becoming a mother, I feel like I have gained additional emotions. It’s like in the film Inside Out when the little girl feels happiness and sadness for the first time and a new “ball” is created that combines both the colours yellow and blue. If there was a motherhood ball it would be all of the emotions you have ever felt mixed into one colourful ball plus new emotions like blurredom (when you are bored and extremely exhausted but the happiest person ever) and confettied out (when you are extremely scared but also feel like you have taken the best dose of ecstasy in the whole world).

I want to do everything. I want to be supermom. Continue to work, continue to study for my postgraduate degree, continue to breastfeed, continue to blog, continue to dance/workout, continue to party, continue keeping the house clean, continue being me, continue, continue. And I will. Because that’s just me.

Even though I know I am doing too much, I love it and I can’t stop. Maybe I’ll slow down with the second child? ; ) Becoming a mother has been THE hardest thing I have ever done. I knew it was going to be hard but I didn’t realise how hard. It’s not like studying for an exam, or climbing a mountain, or working until 11pm every night because of a major project at work, or being hungover, or running a marathon. It’s more like all of those things at the same time.

But then……… you get this little moment, this moment that could easily be misread as simply nothing…..your baby smiles at you for the first time. Everything else fades into the background and you are the happiest you have ever been in your life. These moments come and go like quicksand, but I will cherish them forever. So the truth is, I love being a mum and I wouldn’t change it for the world.